My New Riding Companion – iPod Touch
I don’t listen to music while rideing but I love to bring my iPod Touch along.
1. I have always carried a book with me in my bike bag. With the iPod Touch I now carry as many books as I want in much less space. Plus if the light is dim .. no problem, the display is back lit. It is even easier for me to read a book in my sleeping bag on the iPod Touch than it is to read a paperback because the iPod Touch is easier to hold and I don’t have to hold a light in my teeth.
Another thing I like, when my wife buys a book for her Kindle II, I get a free copy on my Ipod Touch.
2. I have self-contained bicycle toured with a laptop computer but don’t like it, they are heavy, bulky and delicate. Laptops and panniers just don’t mix well especially in the rain.
My iPod Touch is small, light, and fairly rugged. Plus it does everything I did on the laptop just on a smaller screen with touch pad typing.
Size and weigh
- 4.3 inches (110 mm)
- 2.4 inches (61.8 mm)
- 0.33 inch (8.5 mm)
- 4.05 ounces (115 grams)1
My iPod Touch does everything my small lap top did in a package much better suited for bicycling. In fact, I can bring it along on every ride now, even if I am not using panniers.
3. When I don’t have a WiFi connection, I can read books, watch movies or TV shows, or listen to Podcasts, audio books, or music. I have my calendar, Notes (credit card passwords etc.), and Contacts (phone numbers and addresses) with me, plus any reminders or shopping lists. The iPod Touch has replaced my PDA.
4. I can bring all of my photos along with me.
5. When I have a WiFi connection, I can check and send mail, read my news feeds and on line news papers [New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Foster's Daily Democrat (local paper)]. I can surf the internet, check on the Stock Market.
6. I can also make free phone calls and send text message call all over the world using Skype and SMS if I have an internet connection.
7. Literally thousands of low cost applications and games. I like the Brain Trainers and Bejeweled but there is something for everyone.
8. Maps and Locator programs that tell you what is available in an area if you have WiFi. I use this to supplement my GPS.
The iPod Touch is my idea of what a computer should be. It is powerful, easy to use, easy to carry, and syncs with my desktop computer. This is my idea of the future of computing.
What are the downsides:
1. If you are not near sighted you may find the text too small, that is why my wife has a Kindle II.
2. Battery life is almost as limited as a laptop when WiFi or Bluethooth is on, just a few hours.
3. No camera – this is something I would like but have yet to find a usable integrated camera. Yes, my cellphone has an integrated 8 MP camera but like most cellphone cameras is essentially unusable outdoors. Their viewers just aren’t bright enough for me.
4. You will need to charge it everyday.
5. No cellphone. Yes, you could get an iPhone but then you are stuck with AT&T”s lousy coverage that just isn’t good enough for a touring cyclist and an expensive data plan.
I do love my iPod Touch. I have not been an Apple fan since the Apple IIc and III days. I never like the Macs. I have ben a PC user and developer since the IBM PC days. But two things have brought me around to the “Dark Side”, the iPod and Microsoft’s current state of paralysis.
I tried several MP3 played before my wife gave me a Nano and I loved it. The hardware isn’t better than the Sansa I had but it is a better system solution. Apple had the only easy to use system solution. People don’t want to buy hardware they want to buy problem solutions and Apple does a better job of that than the competetiors.
Microsoft’s Vista fiasco and what looks like another fiasco with Windows 7 has soured me on Microsoft solutions. Microsoft has the best technology but lousy product planning. They need to solve that problem quickly or become irrelevant.
I like my iPod Touch so much that I just replaced my still hot PC with an iMac. The iMac isn’t as techie as I like but the OS is just better and they have a better system solution for most folks.